People often call e-cigarette liquids 'juice', and there's a reason for this. Glycerin is a thick oily liquid, which isn't easy to remove without using water. When you add flavors and propylene glycol to it, you get not only e-juice, but also a great way to give flavor to all sorts of items: your smartphone, driver's license, keys or credit card. Basically, anything that happens to be in the same pocket with your e-cigarette. Which devices leak?
Leaks are a typical and common problem of all electronic cigarettes with bottom airflow. Bottom airflow is when air is supplied to the coil from the bottom of the heating chamber, allowing for better taste properties. A bottom airflow RDA can leak as well, but only if the liquid gets directly into the airflow, which would be a feat in and of itself. We'll be talking about tanks here. A brief summary of atomizers
An atomizer usually constitutes a spiral with cotton around it, packed into a metal casing with a bunch of holes. Air is drawn from below through the air holes, and from there vapor comes up to the chimney. The liquid is fed through the sides of the atomizer. Under normal conditions, the liquid moistens the cotton, but doesn't push it. If the liquid somehow ends up in the chimney, it flows down to the air holes. Causes and solutions
Now that we are better informed, let's get to the point. There are many reasons why leaks occur, but they are all united by one thing — something went wrong and it needs to be fixed. There doesn't exist an e-cig that would leak during normal operation, which means that if you do everything correctly, then the liquid will stay exactly where it should be — inside, not outside. Old atomizer
One of the two main causes of leakage for newbies is an old atomizer. The thing is, the liquid holds a small "sandwich" made out of several layers of cotton. If the atomizer is burnt or has been in use for too long, the cotton loses its properties and begins leaking liquid, so don't wait until the last minute before changing. The atomizer is not tight enough
The second most popular problem when it comes to leaks is screwing the atomizer on more tightly. Atomizers become leakproof thanks to a very thin rubber ring, which will fail if the atomizer is not sufficiently pressed to the base. You can tighten your atomizer using a pair of pliers — you'll be throwing it out anyway. Dirty tank
If you don't wash your tank for a long time, liquid residue will accumulate on threads, under the gaskets (o-rings), on contacts and in other places unfit for liquid. This will affect the tightness of the tank and it will start running. Make it a rule to disassemble the tank and rinse every part in warm water once every couple of months, it'll be enough. Old gaskets or cracked glass
There's a reason why most devices come with spare o-rings: they lose elasticity over time. If you notice that the installed gaskets are becoming different from the spare ones — it's time to change them. This is also the case when it comes to glass, as even small cracks can cause leaks. If you see liquid leaking from under the glass and not from the air holes, then the reason has to lie either in the glass or the o-rings. Overfilled tank
A fully loaded tank is a surefire way to get a pocket full of liquid. The top caps are usually screwed on, which means they will squeeze the liquid from a full tank in the only possible direction — outward. The solution is simple — leave some space in your tank. Juice is too runny
If you use liquids with classic proportions, meaning a 50/50 ratio between glycerin and propylene glycol, in powerful modern tanks, you can also experience failure. The atomizer, which is designed for thick juice, will leak under such conditions. Tank is overheated
In our dry hit article we said that liquids thicken in the cold. The opposite occurs when heated, meaning that if your tank is hot to the touch, the liquid is more likely to leak out. What can be done about it? You can choose liquids with a high glycerin content or pick a more modest coil that won't heat up your tank as much. Cotton is not tucked in tightly enough
Did your tank leak immediately after refilling? The small amount of cotton in the wicking hole is to blame. The cotton "sandwich" that holds the liquid outside of the atomizer is present in rebuildable devices as well, however here you can adjust the amount of cotton yourself. It has to fill the entire wicking hole, but not to the point where it's packed. The wick touches the air holes
If the ends of a wick, which come out of the coil, touch the air holes, then the liquid will roll down off the surface of the cotton into the air holes. This happens if the tank is designed for a bigger coil than the one installed in it. This can be fixed by raising the coil slightly and lowering the wick into the wicking holes in the shape of the letter "U". Cheat sheet
Now let's briefly list the solutions that will save you from leaks.
- Change the atomizer in time;
- Tighten it with feeling;
- Keep your tank clean;
- Change out damaged glass and rubber o-rings;
- Don't fill your tank to the brim;
- Choose appropriate liquid;
- Choose proper wattage and coils;
- When applying your cotton, aim for the happy medium;
- Don't let the wick touch the air holes;
Keep this in mind, practice it and help those around you.